I'm not French (obvi). No amount of willing it to be so won't change this fact - believe me, I've tried. But that doesn't stop me from trying to learn the elusive style secrets of the legendarily chic French woman. I'm a sucker for style books in general but even more so for those of the Parisian variety. If I've learned one thing from all this reading, it's this: You must not appear to have tried. That's it. That's the big French secret. APPEAR as if you've not tried, even though you might have spent hours on your look. An elaborate smoky eye, involved nail art or a complicated clothing ensemble shows you've spent lots of time on your look, which equals effort. As far as I can tell, the stylish Parisian wants the world to believe they are naturally gorgeous and stylish. Nothing should be too perfect, too precious.
But here's the real genius of it all: it can be a brilliant time and money saver. Less makeup, fewer manicures, less of everything. It's freeing, in a way. You don't need to follow seasonal trends if you're into the Parisian approach. You simply find what silhouettes and colors work best for you and stick with them. Invest in quality pieces that last for years rather than buying loads of trend pieces that end up in the donate pile after one season. The trick is that you still need to spend time grooming and prepping. There's a fine line between effortless and sloppy. Pay attention to the details and cultivate your style signatures -- a particular scent, a red lip, a scarf tied around the handle of your handbag, etc.
What this all really translates into for me is that it's okay to stay a little lazy when it comes to my personal style. I don't get weekly manicures, I prefer fresh, glowing skin - even with a few blemishes - to a face camouflaged by heavy foundation. I like soft, comfy fabrics in neutral colors and eschew harsh colors or patterns, for the most part. I use a few key accessories to add color or interest to my simple clothing. While I always pay attention to the trends (it's part of my job, you see) I can easily let them slide by without trying them for myself. Basically, this is as French as I'll ever be. Bonjour!